No Hill Too High for a Stepper: Memories of Montevallo, Alabama
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Born during the Great Depression, Mike Mahan was in many ways a very lucky boy. His parents, a barber and a beautician, owned their own shop and home, always providing ample food, clothing, and warmth. No Hill Too High for a Stepper is not, then, the usual story of economic or family struggle, but rather a celebration of life in Montevallo, Alabama, during the thirties, forties, and fifties. It paints excellent portraits of unusually supportive parents as well as of other family members and townspeople, creating a detailed sense of small-town life during this period. At the heart of this book is an absorbing depiction of an irrepressible child and adolescent who approached all of life with a great sense of wonder and who meant to live it to the fullest. Throughout the memoir, the reader comes to see the richness of this life and the pride with which Mahan remembers it.
181, 185, 213, 288 Boyd Building 268 Boy Scout Hut 120 Brent, Alabama 85 Brevard Music Center 305 Brevard, North Carolina 305 Briarcliff Nursing Home 56 Bridges, Catherine 112, 167, 235 Bridges, Ed 40, 106, 167, 235 Bridges, Eula (Sis) 167 Bridges, Lydia 167 Bridges, Mrs. 303 Bridges, Owen 167 Bridges, Pick 167 Bridges, Ted 167 Brierfield, Alabama 15, 63–66, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 80, 81, 109, 137, 169, 201, 202, 205, 207, 306 Brierfield Catholic Church 65 Brierfield Dental 8
rundown house occupied by a colored man. Most black Montevallians lived across the creek, but people said it was okay for the black man to live on our side of the creek, as his house was down under the hill. The DeSears Two houses down, away from Main, one of my best friends, Gene Baldwin, lived in a dirty yellow house with his papaw and mamaw, Mr. and Mrs. Robert DeSear. They, like the Wilsons, lived in a house they rented from Pete Givhan, but their house was far older than either the
the Baker family was one of the highlights of my youth. It set for me a model for the good life that I have pursued to the present day. Part III Businesses on Shelby and Main Streets 14 Shelby Street Business and Medical Center When I was growing up, all of the doctors in town either lived or practiced on Shelby Street. Dr. Charles Acker was an old bachelor who had his office upstairs in an old house just down the street from where we lived. People hardly knew what to think of Dr. Acker.
seconds the light swung out of sight as the wind blew it, and occasionally I would even get the kitchen clock to measure it. I don’t know what value that knowledge had, but as a boy I was constantly gathering information that had little practical value. I began then a lifelong obsession with quantifying, counting, and measuring. Later, along with the white streetlight, a stoplight was installed at the corner of Shelby and Main. It had only two colored lights, red and green—there was no amber in
we would join the colored musicians already on the stage. We were thrilled to be there because we were able to see the beginnings of rock and roll. R and R pretty much used the same four chords I used when I played country with the Cofer Brothers and blues with Sam Brown, so it seemed quite natural to me. Batman was an impressive looking man. He dressed impeccably in dark suits and handsome ties. His kinky hair was cut short, and a part had been made in it with a razor. The Dynaflow Club had no